Monday, January 28, 2008

Age is more than a state of mind!

Vindication! Finally proof that exercise helps fight aging! This article in the Washington Post reports on a study in Great Britain using 2,401 twins (hmmm...If they're twins, shouldn't that be an EVEN number?) and studied the telomeres of active vs. non-active participants. What's a telomere? According to the article:

"Telomeres cap the ends of chromosomes -- the structures that carry genes. Every time a cell divides, telomeres get shorter. When telomeres get too short, cells can no longer divide. Scientists believe that aging occurs as more and more cells reach the end of their telomeres and die -- muscles weaken, skin wrinkles, eyesight and hearing fade, organs fail and thinking clouds."
Apparently, the more active a person is, the longer their telomeres. Does that sound like a gymrat pickup line or what? "Hey, baby--check out the length of my telomeres!" The article goes on to say:
"The length of the twins' telomeres was directly related to their activity levels, the researchers found. Those who did moderate amount of exercise -- about 100 minutes a week of activity such as tennis, swimming or running -- had telomeres that on average looked like those of someone about five or six years younger than those who did the least -- about 16 minutes a week. Those who did the most -- doing about three hours a week of moderate to vigorous activity -- had telomeres that appeared to be about nine years younger than those who did the least."
Now I don't feel so bad about hacking a decade off when I punch my "age" into the elliptical fitness trainer at the gym. Judging my the length of my telomeres, I'm hardly even lying...

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